With the holidays behind us, now would be a great time to see to it that your jewelry is in the best condition possible for the new year, and this may be easily accomplished with a professional inspection and cleaning of your jewelry. This is especially important for your most frequently-worn items, or those which employ the use of any sort of catch or clasp, and will insure not only that everything looks its best, but that the chances of incurring a loss due to a mechanical malfunction or a weak prong is greatly reduced. The good news is that many jewelers who offer this service will not charge (or charge only a minimal amount) for it unless repair work of some sort is involved.

If you’re going to be at the jeweler’s anyway, it would be the perfect time to ask about the need for updating any jewelry listed on your homeowner’s policy, or perhaps adding new (or previously undocumented) pieces to an existing policy. (FYI, in the past five years, the gold market has just about doubled.) All homeowner’s insurance already has a provision for jewelry, but this will only cover you up to a set amount (generally around $1500), beyond which, you will need to have a “rider” or what is sometimes called a personal property “floater” added to your policy. (Please be aware that any jewelry that isn’t listed on your policy is not insured!) Most insurers require either a current insurance appraisal or a detailed bill of sale, and remember that your insurer must get a copy of this— just having the documentation in your possession is not adequate! (All policies are different— check with your insurance company or agent.)

As long as I have you thinking about jewelry, a good New Year’s resolution may be to review your everyday security measures, and perhaps make a few adjustments if needed. If you have become used to leaving fine jewelry in plain sight, or keeping it conveniently stored in a box on top of your dresser, I would strongly discourage this practice, especially when done on a daily basis. It’s a bad habit, and one that sooner or later will get you into trouble. (Jewelry should always be put somewhere secure and easy to access, but not in an obvious location, such as your top dresser drawer.) An old saying states that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Just so.

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Joe Brandt is a local resident, and President of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public. Questions or comments may be directed to JLBCO@hotmail.com. All inquiries are confidential, and responses are provided as a public service.